Hello all... This was the featured post over at www.studiothirtyplus.com on Friday. Studio 30 Plus is where many cool creative bloggers hang out (aka damn homeless squatters), and you have to be 30 or over to join (whew, I just made it). Head over there and check it out. Okay, read this first, then head over there...
While taking the dogs out for a bedtime walk by the calm lake behind our house, it occurred to me that something was missing from this summer evening. Lots of things actually --- cars, sirens, the pizza smell from the 24-hour Thai Pizza Donair joint, hookers… you know, all that downtown big city stuff.
Yes, Virginia, the urban gay married dudes have moved to the suburbs.
No more smells of other people’s cooking, other people’s garbage, other people. No more blasting of Beyonce’s “Single Girls” from the condo next door.
Two months ago we did what a surprising number of otherwise intelligent, Denny’s-averse North Americans are doing. We relocated to the land of the cul de sac, the garden gnome, the minivan, and the 4,000-square-foot starter house. To say all the cool people are moving to the ’burbs would be an overstatement. But here we are!
While I spent my childhood in the burbs of Montreal, since then I have lived in downtown apartments and condos in three cities. I am used to being able to walk to work. I don’t get to know my neighbours. I have never mowed a lawn in my life. On the rare occasion I watched Little House on the Prairie, I sure as hell didn’t want to live there.
Granted, the distinction between city and suburb has blurred. Commuter communities which were once considered cultural Siberia are now filled with cafes, lesbians, and people who care what Arianna Huffington has to say. And downtown cores now have Curves, Wal-Mart and Crocs stores (the last of which should be outlawed everywhere, by the way).
We built this house. Well, okay, other people built it with our ideas and our money. And we could not have had this space or this house downtown. Any downtown. We gave up a central location for more house and more land and more green space and majestic old trees all around us. And we haven’t looked back.
So the question was... would we feel at home in the land of suburbia? We have no kids, we don’t lawn bowl, we are a gay married couple, we don’t wear socks with sandals, and we don’t own a lawnmower. Okay we do technically own a mower, but I don’t know how the hell to use it.
And how’s it going? So far so good. There are lots of dogs and lots of kids. We see the other pet parents by the lake every evening. Alfie is the cutest and loudest of the many dogs. The people are friendly. There’s homos up the street. We can blast ABBA as loud as we want. The wailing sirens have been replaced by honking Canada Geese. The beer cans on the street have been replaced by leaves and dog poop (hey you across the street, pick up after your pug!). We live within walking distance of 3 Boston Pizza’s and drive to every single one of them.
If you had asked me 5 years ago if I thought I'd live in the suburbs, I would've laughed in your face for even asking me such a question. I’m a city guy and proud of it. The suburbs, especially the new build clone-esque developments, kind of scared me – everyone seems to live the same life, like in Edward Scissorhands. I like the edginess of the city, the endless entertainment options, and the interesting and different people you encounter. And the suburb commute during rush hour is killer. But we wanted a house and green space and fell in love with this area which at first glance was so far north I expected a nosebleed.
Now that we have made the big change, our lives haven’t changed much – we work, we spend time together and with our dogs, we see friends, we go to movies and out for dinner, I go to the gym less often than I should, we nest at home. The change is just the nest itself – newer, bigger, further.
I read somewhere that City vs. Suburbia is a state of mind rather than a physical location. Uh, no it’s a real difference, with a highway attached. The air, the environment, the sense of space is different. Life is full of trade-off’s, and we are the same people leading the same lives, but in bigger newer nicer quieter space with a further drive.
So all is good, two months in. There's a lake, there's ducks, there's Canada Geese, there are wild rabbits... and then the other night there was a coyote. What the fuck? To him Alfie is a late-night snack. Holy crap, we overshot the burbs and are in the effing country....